Mosaics of Science- Entry #1

Mosaics of Science- Entry #1

Hello, and welcome to the blog! My name is Miko DelCastillo and I am an incoming senior at the University of Minnesota, studying conservation biology. I am a local Minnesotan, born in St. Paul, but currently living in Minneapolis. Much of my free time consists of hiking, climbing, foraging and rockhounding. I owe a great deal of myself to the concept of conserving the natural world around us. We depend on nature as a huge part of our wellbeing; both in our enrichment and our survival. Doing our part in finding solutions to environmental issues we face is the least we can do. This is one of the key reasons why I’m so thankful to have gotten an internship position doing meaningful work at the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MISS). I will be assisting on a beaver/climate change project based on a 65-mile corridor on the Mississippi river surrounding the twin cities, which I’ll give more context to in my next entry.

I started my position officially on the 15th of May. Since our research with beavers doesn’t begin until the middle of June, the vast majority of my time so far has been spent getting trained alongside several other seasonal rangers, which has been super fun. We have gotten great opportunities to learn from experts regarding Minnesotan hydrology, geology, paleontology, ornithology, silviculture, forestry, and indigenous history (sorry, that was kind of a lot). We also have lots of time outside, which I particularly love to get paid for. Last week, we did paddle training, which consisted of learning how to self-rescue and rescue others in canoes and kayaks. After which we celebrated by getting on the Vermillion River in Hastings Minnesota, where I got a unique chance to explore a floodplain forest in a kayak during a high flood stage. It was pretty surreal to navigate the water while avoiding huge silver maples and cottonwood trees. One of the coolest parts of this trip was seeing multiple prothonotary warblers, a beautiful and rare warbler species- 1 of the 2 warbler species known for nesting in the cavities of dead trees.

This training has provided a lot of crucial knowledge about the ecosystem around me and I feel adequately prepared for my role here on the river. That’s all I have got for right now, but stick around for the next entry where I’ll go more in depth as to what my research will entail!

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